Chen was born and raised in the United States. His parents were immigrants from Taiwan. He was born in Boston, grew up mostly in Foster City in the Bay Area and attended U.C. Berkeley majoring in architecture. In 2006, he earned a MFA in film production at the University of Southern California.
After graduating from college, he moved to Taiwan in 2001 where he obtained a job working for director Edward Yang, who he describes “is kind of a family friend”. It was this experience working in Taiwan cinema that reaffirmed his interest in film-making. Soon after, he enrolled in film school between 2003 to 2006 at the University of Southern California, where he made his first short film MEI. It won the 2007 Silver Bear in Berlin’s International Short Film Competition.
Chen went on to work on his first feature length film, Au Revoir Taipei. Although he wasn’t fluent in Mandarin, his friends had helped him with some translation for the script. The script writing process was one of the challenges he experienced in this field. Au Revoir Taipei won the Best Asian Film Award from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Chen's latest film is the 2013 romantic comedy "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?", starring Richie Jen and Mavis Fan. The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, and was selected for the World Narrative Competition of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.